Fall intervention programs in hospitals and nursing homes are performing poorly, and many patients and residents still fall in hospitals and injure themselves. One aspect of the patient's environment that has not been systematically evaluated as a trigger for falls, is the hospital bed. In our pilot research, bed height, instability of the side rails, and the lack of a handhold for use when exiting the bed all contributed to fall risk. In this proposed study we will examine the relationships between bed height, the configuration of side rails, patient's physical characteristics and biomechanical forces that are exerted as the patient climbs in and out of bed. Sixty four participants, recruited from acute and long term care settings, will be videotaped as they interact with a bed that has been instrumented to measure patient strength requirements. Biomechanical, observational, and subjective participant data will be used to determine the optimal hospital bed height and side rail configurations to minimize the risk of falling and reduce the risk of injury. The biomechanical data will include joint torque during bed entry, exiting, and in-bed repositioning, as well as physical interactions between the patient, floor surface and hospital bed. Observed problems such as slips, balance checks, incomplete entry/exit, and near falls will be coded. Participants will provide a subjective assessment of their perception of fall risk associated with different bed heights and side rail configurations. We will also examine the side rail use for in-bed mobility. The ultimate goal of this research program is to develop design recommendations for a hospital bed that will enable the patient to enter the bed safely, to reposition themselves with minimal exertion, to stand with minimal effort at the bedside, and to move away from the bed with an optimally stable gait. This proposed research project addresses AHRQ's Patient Safety Mission to study the comparative effectiveness of important existing health care technologies, in this case the hospital bed. The development of a safe hospital bed will conservatively reduce bedside falls by 10%, thereby saving the healthcare system costs estimated at $1.5 billion per year in the prevention of injury by 2020.

Public Health Relevance

Patient falls from the bed result in serious injuries. In this project we will explore the bed height and stability of the side rails as they contribute to the risk of falling. We will also examine patients'use of the side rail to assist with turning and moving about in the bed. The ultimate goal of this research program is to design a hospital bed that will assist the patient to enter the bed safely, to reposition themselves with minimal exertion, to stand with minimal effort at the bedside, and to move away from the bed with an optimally stable gait. The development of a safe hospital bed will conservatively reduce bedside falls by 10%, thereby saving the healthcare system future costs of $1.5 billion per year in the prevention of injury. This proposed research project addresses AHRQ's Patient Safety Mission to study the comparative effectiveness of important existing health care technologies, in this case the hospital bed.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
Type
Research Project (R01)
Project #
5R01HS018953-02
Application #
8333187
Study Section
Health Care Technology and Decision Science (HTDS)
Program Officer
Eldridge, Noel
Project Start
2011-09-30
Project End
2014-09-29
Budget Start
2012-09-30
Budget End
2013-09-29
Support Year
2
Fiscal Year
2012
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Name
University of Utah
Department
None
Type
Schools of Nursing
DUNS #
009095365
City
Salt Lake City
State
UT
Country
United States
Zip Code
84112